The name sticks in the throat a bit for loyal Chennai types. Brasserie? We know it’s French, but how do you say it? Never mind. The moment you set your eyes on the cool Mediterranean blue, citrus-green and Picasso white interiors, you are seduced. The man behind Chennai’s stunning new standalone restaurant is none other than Hot Breads Mahadevan, a restaurateur worthy of the Guinness Book for the number of different restaurants he has opened all over the world. He started with Cascade, serving Mongolian hotpot, went on to bake bread in chic, open-to-view bakeries, and then zoomed around doing Thai, Spanish, Mexican and every variation on the theme of Indian. If he has a three-point formula it would be ‘Style, Sizzle and Savour’.
Chennai’s Bombay Brasserie wins on all three counts. We’ve mentioned the style. There are all manner of cool touches. Jazzy mocktails, aerated drinks served in milk bottles, desserts that arrive on beds of smoking dry ice and the live, telegenic action of chefs whirling naans and pulling out kababs from behind their glassed-in kitchens.
We tried the tomato shorba (Rs 120), the Subz Shikampuri kabab (Rs 280), veggie kababs filled with cottage cheese; Gunpowder potato (Rs 220); Galouti Kabab (Rs 390) and Parsi style Salli Chicken (Rs 390) and best of all the Lifafa Roomali (Rs 85). There’s plenty for vegetarians. The desserts are sublime. How can one describe an Aam Ras served with a layer of kheer, topped with two rosogollas, served over a double bowl of dry ice but to say: “Cherie, je t’aime.” It’s love in a time of Brasserie.